Hello everyone, this post is as a result of a mail one of my readers sent. She wanted to know how to feed her family of 5 with a monthly food allowance of N15,000. I have responded to her , but then I decided to do a quick post on cheaper food substitutes during this period of high inflation.
Honestly, feeding a large family during periods like this can be a big task, this is the rainy season and crop items are usually priced higher during this cycle. Now coupled with the high inflation in our economy due to the fuel price increase and high exchange rate, prices of food items have almost doubled in price.
If you are sweating to feed your family, here are some alternate brands / food that you can switch to;
A) Tomato : The price of tomato is currently ridiculous.
- Tin tomato: the secret to a nice tasting stew made with tin tomato is using lots of onions and a pinch of sugar to take out the sour taste. You can read my post HERE on how to use tin tomato.
- Palm kernel sauce: Popularly known as banga. This is a good substitute to tomato stew, very easy to prepare and it can be eaten with rice, yam, eba. etc. A bucket of the kernel cost about N400. If you don’t know how to prepare it, you can just google and lots of recipes will come up.
- Dried tatashe & pepper : Simply soak in hot water for few minutes, blend and fry with either vegetable oil or palm oil with lots of onions. Don’t be surprised if you get addicted to this form of tomato less stew. It can also be eaten with anything.
- Garden egg sauce : Luckily garden egg is still in season, boil the vegetable, remove the translucent skin, mash and fry in palmoil with little tatashe & pepper. This sauce can be eaten with yam, plantain, potato. etc.
B) Yam/Plaintain: Yam is going out of season and the price of a medium sized tuber is about N600. Plaintain is equally expensive, a bunch of 4 pieces is about N400.
- Sweet potato: Personally I love sweet potato and luckily for us in Nigeria, it is readily available and very affordable. For as little as N200 you can get about 7 big pieces. Sweet potato can be eaten boiled, fried, with egg, with sauce, in form of porridge, even with beans.
C) Spaghetti: The price of a pack of spaghetti has increased from N110 to N200 /pack. Depending on your family size, a pack is hardly enough. I cook a pack and half in my house (4 adults, 2 kids).
- Macaroni: Depending on the brand, macaroni may be cheaper, and although both spag and mac are 500 grams / pack, you get more cooked quantity from macaroni. A pack of macaroni is enough for my family of 6.
D) Soup: If you a swallow person from the south south / south east, then chances are that you are feeling the bite from the high cost of vegetables.
- Okro, ogbono, bitter leaf and banga are cheaper alternates to more expensive soups like efo riro, edikang ikong, Afang, Oha, and Egwusi.
E) Other Groceries: With the high exchange rate, prices of foreign groceries have increased. A lot of super markets are even cutting corners and bringing in expired products. My colleague bought a box of Kellogg fruit and fiber and it tasted stale and had lost its crunchiness. A box of snug and dry huggies has also increased from 11K to 15k. Titus sardine has even reduced it’s quantity of fish from 4 pieces to 1 piece.
- Switch to Naija made products. Infinity products has a range of cereal, Nigerian pampers has an improved quality, milo sardine is a good alternate to titus sardine, aptamil/sma gold to NAN baby milk, (NAN is a nestle product and its very good). I have even gone ahead to make my own body fragrances, so no more designer perfumes for me. The last bottle of my favorite fragrance was 14K, I was shocked to discover it goes for 21k now.
F.) Protein: The price of frozen chicken/turkey has also increased.
- There is a wide range of substitute for protein. Beef is relatively still cheaper, and luckily for us the price of eggs are still the same. Kpomo is also a good alternative but for adults since it has no nutritional value. Is titus fish too expensive for you? Then switch to shawa or panla fish.
Nigerians are survivors and we will surely survive this season of inflation. The best alternative is actually to make more money to cover the higher cost of living, but then if your income is not growing and you find yourself struggling to keep up, remember it’s ok to cut costs and live within your means.
Do you have more tips/food substitutes? Feel free to share with us. God bless. ****